MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker was quick to share his reaction to a policy adopted by National Football League owners seeking to suppress the free speech of players protesting racial injustice. Yet Walker has been unable to muster a response to the release the same day of footage showing the harassment and abuse suffered by Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown at the hands of the Milwaukee Police, including being violently thrown to the ground, tased and arrested over where he parked his car.
“There’s more to this than Scott Walker preferring football over basketball,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “This is desperate to be re-elected Scott Walker blowing his racist dog whistle.”
The NFL owners on Wednesday adopted a policy intended to squash players peacefully protesting racial injustice in society. In response, Walker took to Twitter to declare, “It’s about time!” The leader of Walker’s Republican Party, Donald Trump also weighed in suggesting to the protesting players, “Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
The same day, footage was publicly released showing an incident involving Sterling Brown, a player for the Milwaukee Bucks. Brown was harassed, assaulted and unjustly arrested by Milwaukee Police over the manner in which he had parked his car. According to the Milwaukee Chief of Police, unspecified disciplinary measures have been taken against several officers. Brown has indicated he will take legal action to hold accountable those responsible for his assault and arrest.
Walker has had no response to the incident.
From declaring the display of the confederate flag was a “state issue” during the lead up to his 71 day run for president to actions in office like repealing a requirement for collection of data on racial profiling, Ross noted that Scott Walker has a long and shameful history of ignorance and antipathy to racial justice issues.
Walker has also has actively sought to suppress the ability of communities of color to have their voices heard in elections. In a federal lawsuit challenging numerous restrictions on voting supported by Gov. Walker, the judge found restrictions on early voting, “… intentionally discriminates on the basis of race. I reach this conclusion because I am persuaded that this law was specifically targeted to curtail voting in Milwaukee without any other legitimate purpose.”
He concluded, “Gov. Scott Walker has built a career exploiting racial prejudice and punishing communities of color. And we clearly see he’s prepared to continue to exploit racial division and prejudice to keep his job.”